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You Aut to Know: Meaningful, Paid Employment is Possible for Adults with Autism

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When it comes to jobs and adults with autism, we already know the facts: their employment rate is low, their needs aren’t met, and few seem to care. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the statistics are sobering, so any effort to spread awareness is crucial for making their lives even a little easier. That’s why for this article, I’m going to write about the best jobs for adults with autism. My hope is that at least a few adults on the spectrum might just get a better idea of what they’d be good at.

Technology

Some people with autism do very well around technology—computers, smartphones, etc.—because many find it intuitive and both visually and mentally stimulating. This, along with a greater ability to memorize numbers and minute details, maintain intense focus, and retain a lot of information, can mean that jobs involving technology are often wonderful choices for autistic adults. One example resides in the realm of data entry, like programming or medical coding. For those on the spectrum who are more social, there’s always the option of working at Best Buy, Gamestop, or any shop that sells smartphones/tablets like Verizon or Sprint. There are also companies, such as Specialisterne and Aspiritech, that employ adults with autism in software and technology. Watch the CBS News video below to learn more about how adults with autism are thriving in the digital age.

 

Management and Entrepreneurship

This may come as a surprise, but people with autism can make great managers! How? Well, here’s the thing: Yes, managing can be highly stressful, but a lot of it boils down to knowing each task to perform, breaking down those tasks into a series of steps, and then relaying the steps to the other workers. To reiterate, managing is stressful, and to clarify, it isn’t necessarily for all adults with autism. That said, having autism can actually make someone excel in such a position, and I myself actually did well at it. I worked as an assistant manager for a pumpkin stand for the Halloween season, and I really enjoyed it! I ran the cash register, watered the garden, and had workers below me keep the area clean, all the while interacting with every customer. These types of jobs can be an extremely rewarding, and I’d recommend them to anyone who’s interested. Some adults with autism are using their skills to start their own businesses. In August 2012 and with the help of friends and family, Anthony of “Anthony at Your Service” started his own delivery service that has since evolved into a social enterprise that employs several other adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Anthony’s valuable service and vision has been embraced by his community. Watch the video below to learn more about “Anthony at Your Service.”

 

Learning a Trade

Finally, a job that keeps you busy and lets you set your own schedule can be perfect for adults with autism. That’s why learning a trade can be very beneficial. Furthermore, some trades pay better than what the average college graduate makes. Common trades are in carpentry, culinary arts, and plumbing; becoming an electrician is fairly common, too, and learning one of these or other trades takes about as long as getting a college degree but cheaper. There can also be very little interaction with people, thereby eliminating the possibility for social anxiety and novel situations. Very few jobs have those kinds of perks, let alone perks that cater to autistic adults’ needs, so a trade is definitely worth considering.

Conclusion

Finding a great job that fits when you’re an adult with autism can be hard. Unfortunately, many of these adults struggle to find any kind of meaningful employment. However, the truth is there are many jobs that they’d succeed in. It’s important for autistic adults to have fulfillment in their lives, and finding the job that suits them best not only helps them, but society as a whole. I’ve tried to help in my own way by writing this article. Now, you can help by sharing it!


1 Comment

  1. Sue Lowery
    Sue Lowery01-11-2017

    Hi Kyle, this is one of the best articles I’ve read on employing adults with autism. Too many times there are assumptions that if you are on the spectrum you will be good at repetitive or detail oriented jobs. You seem to get it that just like with everyone, skills and interests vary.

    I was really excited to read your encouragement about a management job. My son, 32, has been working in same position for 6 years and would like to move into management. You gave me the idea that might be possible!

    Look forward to reading more of your pieces.

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